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Thursday, 30 August 2012

St. Michael the Archangel In World Religions

Who is like God?
St. Michael known in Christianity as one of the Archangels, is also recognized in many traditions and references throughout history in many of the world’s religions.  I found this most enlightening, I hope you will too.

Christianity -St. Michael mentioned in Scripture
Early 20th Century Russian Icon of St. Michael

Both in the Old and New Testament

·        Daniel 10:13  Gabriel (another great Archangel) says to Daniel, when he asks God to permit the Jews to return to Jerusalem: "The Angel  of the kingdom of the Persians resisted me . . . and, behold Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me . . . and none is my helper in all these things, but Michael your prince."

·        Daniel 12, the Angel speaking of the end of the world and the Antichrist says: "At that time shall Michael rise up, the great prince, who standeth for the children of thy people."

·        In the Catholic Epistle of St. Jude: "When Michael the Archangel, disputing with the devil, contended about the body of Moses", etc. St. Jude alludes to an ancient Jewish tradition of a dispute between Michael and Satan over the body of Moses, an account of which is also found in the apocryphal book on the assumption of Moses (Origen, De Principiis III.2.2). St. Michael concealed the tomb of Moses; Satan, however, by disclosing it, tried to seduce the Jewish people to the sin of hero-worship. St. Michael also guards the body of Eve, according to the "Revelation of Moses" ("Apocryphal Gospels", etc., ed. A. Walker, Edinburgh, p. 647).

·        Revelation 12:7, "And there was a great battle in heaven, Michael and his angels fought with the dragon." St. John speaks of the great conflict at the end of time, which reflects also the battle in heaven at the beginning of time. According to the Fathers there is often question of St. Michael in Scripture where his name is not mentioned. They say he was the cherub who stood at the gate of paradise, "to keep the way of the tree of life" (Genesis 3:24), the angel through whom God published the Decalogue to his chosen people, the angel who stood in the way against Balaam (Numbers 22:22 sqq.), the angel who routed the army of Sennacherib (2 Kings 19:35).

St. Michael defeating Satan

  • To fight against Satan. 

  • To rescue the souls of the faithful from the power of the enemy, especially at the hour of death.

  • To be the champion of God's people, the Jews in the Old Law, the Christians in the New Testament; therefore he was the patron of the Church, and of the orders of knights during the Middle Ages.

  •  To call away from earth and bring men's souls to judgment ("signifer S. Michael repraesentet eas in lucam sanctam", Offert. Miss Defunct. "Constituit eum principem super animas suscipiendas", Antiph. off. Cf. The Shepherd of Hermas, Book III, Similitude 8, Chapter 3).

St. Michael the weighing of souls
Regarding his rank in the celestial hierarchy opinions vary; St. Basil (Hom. de angelis) and other Greek Fathers, also Salmeron, Bellarmine, etc., place St. Michael over all the angels; they say he is called "archangel" because he is the prince of the other angels; others (cf. P. Bonaventura, op. cit.) believe that he is the prince of the seraphim, the first of the nine angelic orders. But, according to St. Thomas (Summa Ia.113.3) he is the prince of the last and lowest choir, the angels. The Roman Liturgy seems to follow the Greek Fathers; it calls him "Princeps militiae coelestis quem honorificant angelorum cives".   The hymn of the Mozarabic Breviary places St. Michael even above the Twenty-four Elders. The Greek Liturgy styles him Archistrategos, "highest general" (cf. Menaea, 8 Nov. and 6 Sept.).

Veneration in Roman Catholic Tradition

It would have been natural to St. Michael, the champion of the Jewish people, to be the champion also of Christians, giving victory in war to his clients. 

The early Christians, however, regarded some of the martyrs as their military patrons: St. George, St. Theodore, St. Demetrius, St. Sergius, St. Procopius, St. Mercurius, etc.; but to St. Michael they gave the care of their sick. 

At the place where he was first venerated, in Phrygia, his prestige as angelic healer obscured his interposition in military affairs. It was from early times the centre of the true cult of the holy angels, particularly of St. Michael. 

Tradition relates that St. Michael in the earliest ages caused a medicinal spring to spout at Chairotopa near Colossae, where all the sick who bathed there, invoking the Blessed Trinity and St. Michael, were cured.

Still more famous are the springs which St. Michael is said to have drawn from the rock at Colossae (Chonae, the present Khonas, on the Lycus). The pagans directed a stream against the sanctuary of St. Michael to destroy it, but the archangel split the rock by lightning to give a new bed to the stream, and sanctified forever the waters which came from the gorge. The Greeks claim that this apparition took place about the middle of the first century and celebrate a feast in commemoration of it on 6 September (Analecta Bolland., VIII, 285-328). Also at Pythia in Bithynia and elsewhere in Asia the hot springs were dedicated to St. Michael.

 At Constantinople likewise, St. Michael was the great heavenly physician. His principal sanctuary, the Michaelion, was at Sosthenion, some fifty miles south of Constantinople; there the archangel is said to have appeared to the Emperor Constantine. The sick slept in this church at night to wait for a manifestation of St. Michael; his feast was kept there 9 June. Another famous church was within the walls of the city, at the thermal baths of the Emperor Arcadius; there the synaxis of the archangel was celebrated 8 November. This feast spread over the entire Greek Church, and the Syrian, Armenian, and Coptic Churches adopted it also; it is now the principal feast of St. Michael in the Orient.   It may have originated in Phrygia, but its station at Constantinople was the Thermae of Arcadius (Martinow, "Annus Graeco-slavicus", 8 Nov.). Other feasts of St. Michael at Constantinople were: 27 October, in the "Promotu" church; 18 June, in the Church of St. Julian at the Forum; and 10 December, at Athaea.

The Christians of Egypt placed their life-giving river, the Nile, under the protection of St. Michael; they adopted the Greek feast and kept it 12 November; on the twelfth of every month they celebrate a special commemoration of the archangel, but 12 June, when the river commences to rise, they keep as a holiday of obligation the feast of St. Michael "for the rising of the Nile", euche eis ten symmetron anabasin ton potamion hydaton.

At Rome the Leonine Sacramentary (sixth century) has the "Natale Basilicae Angeli via Salaria", 30 September; of the five Masses for the feast three mention St. Michael. The Gelasian Sacramentary (seventh century) gives the feast "S. Michaelis Archangeli", and the Gregorian Sacramentary (eighth century), "Dedicatio Basilionis S. Angeli Michaelis", 29 Sept. A manuscript also here adds "via Salaria" (Ebner, "Miss. Rom. Iter Italicum", 127). This church of the Via Salaria was six miles to the north of the city; in the ninth century it was called Basilica Archangeli in Septimo (Armellini, "Chiese di Roma", p. 85). It disappeared a thousand years ago. At Rome also the part of heavenly physician was given to St. Michael. According to an (apocryphal?) legend of the tenth century he appeared over the Moles Hadriani (Castel di S. Angelo), in 950, during the procession which St. Gregory held against the pestilence, putting an end to the plague. Boniface IV (608-15) built on the Moles Hadriani in honour of him, a church, which was styled St. Michaelis inter nubes (in summitate circi). 

Apparition of St. Michael at Mount Gargano
Well known is the apparition of St. Michael (a. 494 or 530-40), as related in the Roman Breviary, 8 May, at his renowned sanctuary on Monte Gargano, where his original glory as patron in war was restored to him. To his intercession the Lombards of Sipontum (Manfredonia) attributed their victory over the Greek Neapolitans, 8 May, 663. In commemoration of this victory the church of Sipontum instituted a special feast in honour of the archangel, on 8 May, which has spread over the entire Latin Church and is now called (since the time of Pius V) "Apparitio S. Michaelis", although it originally did not commemorate the apparition, but the victory.

 In Normandy  St. Michael is the patron of mariners in his famous sanctuary at Mont-Saint-Michel in the Diocese of Coutances. He is said to have appeared there, in 708, to St. Aubert, Bishop of Avranches. In Normandy his feast "S. Michaelis in periculo maris" or "in Monte Tumba" was universally celebrated on 18 Oct., the anniversary of the dedication of the first church, 16 Oct., 710; the feast is now confined to the Diocese of Coutances. In Germany, after its evangelization, St. Michael replaced for the Christians the pagan god Wotan, to whom many mountains were sacred, hence the numerous mountain chapels of St. Michael all over Germany.

 The hymns of the Roman Office are said to have been composed by St. Rabanus Maurus of Fulda (d. 856). In art St. Michael is represented as an angelic warrior, fully armed with helmet, sword, and shield (often the shield bears the Latin inscription: Quis ut Deus), standing over the dragon, whom he sometimes pierces with a lance. He also holds a pair of scales in which he weighs the souls of the departed (cf. Rock, "The Church of Our Fathers", III, 160), or the book of life, to show that he takes part in the judgment. His feast (29 September) in the Middle Ages was celebrated as a holy day of obligation, but along with several other feasts it was gradually abolished since the eighteenth century (see FEASTS). Michaelmas Day, in England and other countries, is one of the regular quarter-days for settling rents and accounts; but it is no longer remarkable for the hospitality with which it was formerly celebrated. Stubble-geese being esteemed in perfection about this time, most families had one dressed on Michaelmas Day. In some parishes (Isle of Skye) they had a procession on this day and baked a cake, called St. Michael's bannock.
Information and excerpts taken from the following sites:

Eastern and Oriental Orthodoxy
The Eastern Orthodox accord Michael the title "Archistrategos", or "Supreme Commander of the Heavenly Hosts." The Eastern Orthodox pray to their guardian angels and above all to Michael and Gabriel.

The Eastern Orthodox have always had strong devotions to angels, and the trend continues to date with the term "Bodiless Powers" applied to them.[43] A number of feasts dedicated to Archangel Michael are celebrated by the Eastern Orthodox throughout the year.

 Archangel Michael is mentioned in a number of Eastern Orthodox hymns and prayer, and his icons are widely used within Eastern Orthodox churches.[44] In many Eastern Orthodox icons, Christ is accompanied by a number of angels, Michael being a predominant figure among them.

Byzantine icon of St. Michael 13th century
 In Russia many monasteries, cathedrals, court and merchant churches are dedicated to the Chief Commander Michael, and most Russian cities have a church or chapel dedicated to the Archangel Michael.

 The place of Michael in the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria is a saintly intercessor, where he is seen as the one who presents to God the prayers of the just, who accompanies the souls of the dead to heaven, who defeats the devil. He is celebrated liturgically on the 12th of each month.[47] In Alexandria, a church was dedicated to him in the early fourth century on the 12th of the month of Ba'unah. On the 12th of the month of Hathor is the celebration of Michael's appointment in heaven, where Michael became the chief of the angels.

St. Michael in Judaism

St. Michael's name in Hebrew
 According to rabbinic Jewish tradition, Michael acted as the advocate of Israel, and sometimes had to fight with the princes of the other nations (cf. Daniel 10:13) and particularly with the angel Samael, Israel's accuser. Michael's enmity with Samael dates from the time when the latter was thrown down from heaven. Samael took hold of the wings of Michael, whom he wished to bring down with him in his fall; but Michael was saved by God.  Michael is also said to have had a dispute with Samael over the soul of Moses.

The idea that Michael was the advocate of the Jews became so prevalent that in spite of the rabbinical prohibition against appealing to angels as intermediaries between God and his people, Michael came to occupy a certain place in the Jewish liturgy. There were two prayers written beseeching him as the prince of mercy to intercede in favor of Israel: one composed by Eliezer ha-Kalir, and the other by Judah ben Samuel he-Hasid. But appeal to Michael seems to have been more common in ancient times. Thus Jeremiah is said to have addressed a prayer to him.[19] "When a man is in need he must pray directly to God, and neither to Michael nor to Gabriel."

The rabbis declare that Michael entered upon his role of defender at the time of the biblical patriarchs. Thus, according to Rabbi Eliezer ben Jacob, it was Michael who rescued Abraham from the furnace into which he had been thrown by Nimrod (Midrash Genesis Rabbah xliv. It was Michael, the "one that had escaped" (Genesis 14:13), who told Abraham that Lot had been taken captive (Midrash Pirke R. El.), and who protected Sarah from being defiled by Abimelech. He announced to Sarah that she would bear a son and he rescued Lot at the destruction of Sodom.

St. Michael in Midrash
The Hebrew term Midrash (Hebrew: מדרש‎; plural midrashim, "story" from "to investigate" or "study") also "Interpretation" or "Exposition"[1] is a homiletic method of biblical exegesis. The term also refers to the whole compilation of homiletic teachings on the Bible.
Midrash is a way of interpreting biblical stories that goes beyond simple distillation of religious, legal or moral teachings. It fills in many gaps left in the biblical narrative regarding events and personalities that are only hinted at.

It is said that Michael prevented Isaac from being sacrificed by his father by substituting a ram in his place, and saved Jacob, while yet in his mother's womb, from being killed by Samael. Later Michael prevented Laban from harming Jacob.(Pirke De-Rabbi Eliezer, xxxvi). It was Michael who wrestled with Jacob and who afterward blessed him.

The midrash Exodus Rabbah holds that Michael exercised his function of advocate of Israel at the time of the Exodus also, when Satan (as an adversary) accused the Israelites of idolatry and declared that they were consequently deserving of death by drowning in the Red Sea. Michael is also said to have destroyed the army of Sennacherib.

Protestant views of St. Michael

St. Michaelis Luthern Church on the €2 coin 2008 

Most Protestant Christians (excluding Anglicans) generally reject the intercession of saints as a whole. However, the Anglican prayer of preparation before Mass includes a confession to "Michael the Archangel" as well as other saints such as John the Baptist.

 Protestant denominations generally recognize only two archangels, Michael and Gabriel, usually emphasizing Michael, unlike Judaism, Roman Catholicism, and Eastern Orthodoxy which may at times recognize seven (and in rare cases eight) archangels, with Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael generally regarded with an elevated status, e.g. being the only archangels honored by name in Catholicism.
St. Michael in Victory by Murillo

Some early Protestant scholars identified Michael with the pre-incarnate Christ, basing their view, partly on the juxtaposition of the "child" and the archangel in Revelation 12, and partly on the attributes ascribed to him in Daniel. Similarly in 1751 Anglican bishop Robert Clayton held that Michael was the Logos and Gabriel the Holy Spirit, an extreme position which resulted in his prosecution, just before he died.

Michael continues to be recognized among Protestants by key churches dedicated to him, e.g. St. Michaelis Church, Hamburg, a famous Lutheran Church which appears on the coins of the European Union.[54]

St. Michael mentioned in the Qur'an
 Michael (Arabic: ميخائيل, Mikhail ميكائيل, Mikael ), is one of the two archangels mentioned in the Qur'an, alongside Jibreel (Gabriel). In the Qur'an, Michael is mentioned once only, in Sura 2:98: "Whoever is an enemy to God, and His angels and His messengers, and Jibreel and Mikhail!  Then, lo! God (Himself) is an enemy to the disbelievers." Some Muslims believe that the reference in Sura 11:69 is Michael, one of the three angels who visited Abraham.

Jehovah's Witnesses 
beliefs of St. Michael
Jehovah's Witnesses believe Michael to be another name for Jesus Christ in heaven, in his pre-human and post-resurrection existence. They assert that, because a definite article is used at Jude 9 when referring to "Michael the Archangel", and because the term "archangel" is used only in the singular in the Bible, never clearly in the plural, that therefore Michael is the only archangel, and therefore synonymous with Jesus, who is described at 1 Thessalonians 4:16 as descending "with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet".

They believe the prominent roles assigned to Michael at Daniel 12:1 and Revelation 12:7; 19:14, 16 are identical to Jesus' roles, as the one chosen to lead God's people, and as the one who "stands up", identifying them as the same spirit being. Because they identify Michael with Jesus, he is therefore considered the first and greatest of all God's heavenly sons, God's chief messenger who takes the lead in vindicating God's sovereignty, sanctifying his name, fighting the wicked forces of Satan, and protecting God's covenant people on earth.[56] Jehovah's Witnesses also identify Michael with the "Angel of the Lord" who led the Israelites in the wilderness.[57]

Seventh-day Adventists 
St. Michael defeats Satan by Giordano, Luca
beliefs of St. Michael
Seventh-day Adventists believe that Michael is another name for the Heavenly Christ, and another name for the Word-of-God (as in John 1) before He became incarnate as Jesus. Archangel (meaning "Chief of the Angels") was the leadership position held by the Word-of-God as Michael while among the angels. So according to Adventist theology, Michael was considered the "eternal Word", and not a created being or created angel, and the one by whom all things were created. The Word was then born incarnate as Jesus.
 Seventh-day Adventists believe the name "Michael" is significant in showing who it is, just as "Immanuel" (which means "God with us") is about who Jesus is. They believe that name "Michael" signifies "one who is God" and that as the "Archangel" or "chief or head of the angels" He led the angels and thus the statement in Revelation 12:7-9 identifies Jesus as Michael.[59]
 Seventh-day Adventists believe that the term 'Michael' is but one of the many titles applied to the Son of God, the second person of the Godhead. But, according to Adventists, such a view does not in any way conflict with the belief in His full deity and eternal pre-existence, nor does it in the least disparage His person and work.[60]
 In the Seventh-day Adventist view, the statement in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18: "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven, with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God" identifies Jesus as Archangel, which is Michael.[61] And the Seventh-day Adventists believe that John 5:25-29 also confirms that Jesus and Michael are the same.[61]
Seventh-day Adventists believe there is and can only be one archangel and that one Archangel is named Michael and yet in Scripture is shown as doing what also applies to Christ even from the beginning, so is Christ pre-incarnate. There was a perception that Adventists were relegating Jesus to something less than divine or less than God but that is not valid since Seventh-day Adventism theology teaches and is expressly Trinitarian.[62][63]

Beliefs of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Latter-day Saints (also known informally as Mormons) believe that Michael is Adam, the Ancient of Days (Dan. 7), a prince, and the patriarch of the human family and that Michael assisted Jehovah (the heavenly form of Jesus Christ) in the creation of the world under the direction of God the Father.

St. Michael as Patron Saint and Names of Religious Orders
What IS a patron saint?
 “Patron saints are chosen as special protectors or guardians over areas of life. These areas can include occupations, illnesses, churches, countries, causes -- anything that is important to us. The earliest records show that people and churches were named after apostles and martyrs as early as the fourth century.
Recently, the popes have named patron saints but patrons can be chosen by other individuals or groups as well. Patron saints are often chosen today because an interest, talent, or event in their lives overlaps with the special area. Angels can also be named as patron saints. A patron saint can help us when we follow the example of that saint's life and when we ask for that saint's intercessory prayers to God.” Definition taken from http://www.catholic.org/saints/patron.php         More on Patron Saints under separate post.
Bulgarian women at the Feast of St. Michael
In the Roman Catholic calendar of saints, Anglican Calendar of Saints, and the Lutheran Calendar of Saints, the archangel's feast is celebrated on Michaelmas Day. The day is also considered the feast of Saints Gabriel, and Raphael or the Feast of Saint Michael and All Angels. On the Western Christian calendar the feast is celebrated on 29 September.

He is known worldwide as the Patron saint of Law Enforcement and soldiers.  

In the Eastern Orthodox Church, Saint Michael's principal feast day is November 8 (November 21 by most Orthodox churches since they use the Julian calendar), where he is honored along with the rest of the "Bodiless Powers of Heaven" (i.e. angels) as their Supreme Commander, and the Miracle at Chonae is commemorated on September 6.

In late medieval Christianity, Michael, together with Saint George, became the patron saint of chivalry and is now also considered the patron saint of police officers and the military.
In mid to late 15th century, France was one of only four courts in Western Christendom without an order of knighthood.

 Later in the 15th century, Jean Molinet glorified the primordial feat of arms of the archangel as "the first deed of knighthood and chivalrous prowess that was ever achieved."Thus Michael was the natural patron of the first chivalric order of France, the Order of Saint Michael of 1469.

In the British honours system, a chivalric order founded in 1818 is also named for these two saints, the Order of St Michael and St George.

The Order of Michael the Brave is Romania's highest military decoration.

Apart from his being a patron of warriors, the sick and the suffering also consider Archangel Michael their patron saint. 

Based on the legend of his 8th century apparition at Mont-Saint-Michel, France, the Archangel is the patron of mariners in this famous sanctuary. 

After the evangelisation of Germany, where mountains were often dedicated to pagan gods, Christians placed many mountains under the patronage of the Archangel, and numerous mountain chapels of St. Michael appeared all over Germany

He has been the patron saint of Brussels since the Middle Ages.   

The city of Arkhangelsk in Russia is named for the Archangel. Ukraine and its capital Kiev also consider Michael their patron saint and protector.
Michaelite Fathers http://www.michaelites.ca/congregationintro.htm

An Anglican sisterhood dedicated to Saint Michael under the title of the Community of St Michael and All Angels was founded in 1851.

The Congregation of Saint Michael the Archangel (CSMA), also known as the Michaelite Fathers, is a religious order of the Roman Catholic Church founded in 1897.

Major shrines to St. Michael
•St. Michael and St. Gudula Cathedral, in Brussels, Belgium
•Mont Saint-Michel, Normandy, France - a World Heritage Site
•St. Michael's Cathedral (Toronto), Canada
·  St. Michael's Golden-Domed Monastery in Kiev (Ukraine).
•St. Michael's Cathedral (Izhevsk), Russia
 •St. Michael's Cathedral, Qingdao, China
 •Chudov Monastery in the Moscow Kremlin
 •Archangel Cathedral in the Moscow Kremlin - a World Heritage Site
 •Monte Sant'Angelo sul Gargano, Gargano, Italy
 •St Michael's Mount, Cornwall, UK
 •St. Michael's Basilica, Miramichi, Canada
 •Skellig Michael, off the Irish west coast - a World Heritage Site
 •St Michael's Cathedral, Coventry, UK
St. Micheal's Golden-Domed Monastery, Kiev, Ukraine
 •St. Michael's Golden-Domed Monastery, Kiev, Ukraine
 •St Michael's Church in Vienna, Austria
 •Basilica of St Michael the Archangel, Tayabas, Quezon, Philippines
 •Saint Michael's church, Berlin
 •St. Michael's Cathedral in Belgrade, Serbia

·        There is a legend which seems to be of Jewish origin, and which was adopted by the Copts, to the effect that Michael was first sent by God to bring Nebuchadnezzar (c. 600 BC) against Jerusalem, and that Michael was afterward very active in freeing his nation from Babylonian captivity. According to midrash Genesis Rabbah, Michael saved Hananiah and his companions from the Fiery furnace. Michael was active in the time of Esther: "The more Haman accused Israel on earth, the more Michael defended Israel in heaven".[80] It was Michael who reminded Ahasuerus that he was Mordecai's debtor; and there is a legend that Michael appeared to the high priest Hyrcanus, promising him assistance.

·  A 12th-century icon of the Miracle at Chonae, from Saint Catherine's Monastery, Mount Sinai.
St. Michael icon at Sinai (Egypt) by K. Weitzmann
The Orthodox Church celebrates the Miracle at Chonae on September 6. The legend states that the pagans directed a stream against the sanctuary of St Michael to destroy it, but Archippus (the custodian) prayed to Michael, the archangel appeared and split the rock to open up a new bed for the stream, directing the flow away from the church and sanctifying forever the waters which came from the new gorge. The spring which came forth after this event is said to have special healing powers. The legend existed in earlier times, but the 5th-7th century texts that refer to the miracle at Chonae formed the basis of specific paradigms for "properly approaching" angelic intermediaries for more effective prayers within the Christian culture.
There is a late 5th century legend in Cornwall, UK that the Archangel appeared to fishermen on St Michael's Mount.   According to author Richard Freeman Johnson this legend is likely a nationalistic twist to a myth. Cornish legends also hold that the mount itself was constructed by giants and that King Arthur battled a giant there.
The legend of the apparition of the Archangel at around 490 AD at a secluded hilltop cave on Monte Gargano in Italy gained a following among the Lombards in the immediate period thereafter, and by the 8th century pilgrims arrived from as far away as England. The Roman Breviary then recorded it on May 8, the date on which the Lombards attributed their 663 victory over the Greek Neopolitan to the intercession of the Archangel
Micheal's statue at Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome
                   Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome, with            Michael's statue atop

According to Roman legends, while a devastating plague persisted in Rome, Archangel Michael appeared with a sword over the mausoleum of Hadrian, in apparent answer to the prayers of Pope St Gregory I the Great (c. 590-604) that the plague should cease. After the plague ended, in honor of the occasion, the pope called the mausoleum "Castel Sant'Angelo" (Castle of the Holy Angel), the name by which it is still known.
·        The Mont-Saint-Michel in Normandy, France
Mont Saint Michel in Normandy, France
According to Norman legend, Michael is said to have appeared to St Aubert, Bishop of Avranches, in 708, giving instruction to build a church on the rocky islet now known as Mont Saint-Michel. In 966 the Duke of Normandy commissioned a Benedictine abbey on the mount, and it remains a major pilgrimage site.
      A Portuguese Carmelite nun, Antónia d'Astónaco, had reported an apparition and private revelation of the Archangel Michael who had told to this devoted Servant of God, in 1751, that she would like to be honored, and God glorified, by the praying of nine special invocations. These nine invocations correspond to invocations to the nine choirs of angels and origins the famous Chaplet of Saint Michael. This private revelation and prayers were approved by Pope Pius IX in 1851. (*The prayer Chaplet of Satin Michael  and Nine Choirs of Angels will be under their own posts)

·        From 1961 to 1965, four young schoolgirls had reported several apparitions of Archangel Michael in the small village of Garabandal, Spain. At  Garabandal, the apparitions of the Archangel Michael were mainly reported as announcing the arrivals of the Virgin Mary. The Catholic Church has neither approved, nor condemned the Garabandal apparitions.
Garabandal, Spain

Art and literature
In literature
In the English epic poem Paradise Lost by John Milton, Michael commands the army of angels loyal to God against the rebel forces of Satan. Armed with a sword from God's armory, he bests Satan in personal combat, wounding his side.

Artistic depictions of St. Michael

Archangel Michael in Christian art
·        Early 20th century Russian icon of the 7 Holy Angels, with Michael in the front.

·        Archangel Michael may be depicted alone or with other angels such as Gabriel.   Some depictions with Gabriel date back to the 8th century, e.g. the stone casket at Notre Dame de Mortain church in France.

·        The widely reproduced image of Our Mother of Perpetual Help, an icon of the Cretan school, depicts Michael on the left carrying the lance and sponge of the crucifixion of Jesus, with Gabriel on the right side of Mary and Jesus.

St. Michael reaching to save souls in purgatory
        In many depictions Michael is represented as an angelic warrior, fully armed with helmet, sword, and shield. The shield may bears the Latin inscription Quis ut Deus. He may be standing over a serpent, a dragon, or the defeated figure of Satan, whom he sometimes pierces with a lance.  The iconography of Michael slaying a serpent goes back to the early 4th century, when Emperor Constantine defeated Licinius at the Battle of Adrianople in 324 AD, not far from the Michaelion a church dedicated to Archangel Michael.

    Constantine felt that Licinius was an agent of Satan, and associated him with the serpent described in the Book of Revelation (12:9). After the victory, Constantine commissioned a depiction of himself and his sons slaying Licinius represented as a serpent - a symbolism borrowed from the Christian teachings on the Archangel to whom he attributed the victory. A similar painting, this time with the Archangel Michael himself slaying a serpent then became a major art piece at the Michaelion and eventually lead to the standard iconography of Archangel Michael as a warrior saint.

·        In other depictions Michael may be holding a pair of scales in which he weighs the souls of the departed and may hold the book of life (as in the Book of Revelation), to show that he takes part in the judgment.  However this form of depiction is less common than the slaying of the dragon. Michelangelo depicted this scene on the altar wall of the Sistine Chapel.

·        In Byzantine art Michael was often shown as a princely court dignitary, rather than a warrior who battled Satan or with scales for weighing souls on the Day of Judgement.

Judaism  Most Jewish teachings interpret the Second Commandment as against the use of "graven images" as visual art.

Islam   Islamic art's focus on calligraphy, rather than painting and sculpture, similarly derives from the association of idolatry with the depiction of human or angelic forms.

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